What Do Raccoons Do in Winter?

What Raccoons Do in Winter

When the cold winter weather and snow arrive, you may be wondering what happens to the raccoons. What do they do during the winter months?

In this post, we discuss the winter habits of raccoons so you can better understand their behavior.

Do raccoons hibernate in winter?

Raccoons do not hibernate in winter, contrary to what many believe. They do not migrate to warmer places either.

raccoon in tree in winterRaccoons are not true hibernators. They may, however, go into an extended period of rest and sleep called “torpor”. It is not hibernation because their heart rate will not slow and their metabolism and body temperature does not change.

Related: Do raccoons hibernate?

They will have fattened up during summer so they have a reserve of fat for the cold winter months.

 

Do raccoons migrate before winter?

Raccoons do not migrate before winter. You may be wondering what happened to them all because you don’t often see them during the cold winter months.

Raccoons do not hibernate either. They find a nice shelter to hide out from the worst weather and when the cold and snow occur, they will go into a deep state of sleep referred to as Torpor.

 

Raccoon torpor

raccoon in homeAs the weather begins getting colder, raccoons will seek out a good den for the winter months. During the first major snowfall or when temperatures dip below 25 degrees, raccoons will go to sleep in their den until the coldest and snowiest periods’ end.

Since they are not actually hibernating, raccoons will rise from their dens anytime the weather gets warmer. They will go in search of food to help them through the remainder of the winter.

The problem for you is when these raccoons decide that living under your deck, inside your chimney or moving into your attic is the best place to spend the winter.

Related: Keep animals out of your chimney with a chimney cap

 

Raccoons in your attic

You might be able to tolerate them temporarily under your deck, but you definitely don’t want them in your attic. Raccoons may carry diseases and so can the feces they leave behind. They may also chew wires and tear up other things they find.

It’s worth taking preventive measures for keeping raccoons away from your home.

There’s also another thing you probably want to avoid: Raccoons having babies in your home.

Because raccoons do not hibernate, they have found another way to occupy themselves during winter: mating.

Raccoon mating season takes place in late winter, sometime between January and February.

Finding a nice place to have babies is actually the most likely reason raccoons will move into your home.

 

Summary

What do raccoons do in winter? They will search for a place to make a good winter den. They will not hibernate but they do go into torpor, a state of extended rest in their den.

Raccoons will come out though as soon as it’s warm enough for them to go in search of food. They will also mate during the winter months and give birth do a litter in early spring.

 

Attic Solutions - Call for Live Animal Removal, Dead Animal Removal, Attic RestorationDo you need help removing a raccoon from your home?

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What Do Raccoons Do in Winter? was last modified: November 21st, 2018 by Attic Solutions